Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Antivirus. Show all posts

Upcoming Crimeware is Driven by Cobalt Strike

Threat actors are transitioning away from the Cobalt Strike suite of penetration testing tools in favor of less well-known frameworks that are similar.

Sliver, an open-source, cross-platform kit, is emerging as a viable replacement for Brute Ratel. Utilizing research queries derived by examining the toolkit, how sliver functions, its components, and malicious activity using it can be found.

Cobalt Strike, a toolkit enabling attackers to deploy "beacons" on compromised machines to conduct remote network surveillance or issue instructions, has long been one of the most well-liked tools in red team engagements.

Hackers are attempting various methods that can avoid Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and antivirus solutions because defenders have learned to detect and block assaults depending on this toolkit.

Hackers have developed alternatives as Cobalt Strike's defenses have gotten stronger. They switched to Brute Ratel, an adversarial attack simulation program meant to avoid security products, as seen by Palo Alto Networks.

According to a Microsoft analysis, hackers of all stripes—from state-sponsored organizations to cybercrime gangs—are increasingly employing the Go-based Sliver security testing tool created by experts at BishopFox cybersecurity firm in their attacks.

Microsoft tracks one group that adopted Sliver as DEV-0237. The gang, also known as FIN12, has been connected to several ransomware developers. The gang in the past, has used malware, such as TrickBot, to spread ransomware payloads from other ransomware operators.

State-sponsored actors in Russia, especially APT29 also known as Cozy Bear, The Dukes, and Grizzly Steppe, have reportedly also used Sliver to keep access to compromised environments, according to a report from the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Microsoft says that Sliver has been used in more recent attacks in place of BazarLoader using the Bumblebee (Coldtrain) malware loader, which is connected to the Conti syndicate.

Defenders can utilize Microsoft's set of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to recognize Sliver and other new C2 frameworks. Hackers can set up listeners to detect anomalies on the network for Sliver infrastructure because the Sliver C2 network supports several protocols DNS, HTTP/TLS, MTLS, and TCP, accepts implants/operator connections, and can host files to imitate legitimate web servers.

Microsoft also provided details on how to recognize Sliver payloads produced from the C2 framework's official, unmodified source.

Microsoft advises removing configurations when they are put into memory for Sliver malware payloads that don't have a lot of contexts because the framework needs to de-obfuscate and decrypt them in order to use them.


Alert! Check if you have these Android Malware Apps Installed With 10M+ Downloads

 

A fresh batch of harmful Android applications containing adware and malware that have been installed on almost 10 million mobile devices has been discovered on the Google Play Store. 

The apps pretend to be picture editors, virtual keyboards, system optimizers, wallpaper changes, and other things. Their primary functionality, however, is to display invasive advertisements, subscribe users to premium services, and hijack victims' social network accounts. 

The Dr Web antivirus team discovered several dangerous applications, which they highlighted in a study published. Google has removed the great majority of the offered applications, however, three remain available for download and installation via the Play Store at the time of writing. Also, if anyone installed any of these applications before they were removed from the Play Store, then will need to manually delete them from the device and conduct an antivirus check to remove any leftovers. 

The latest dangerous Android applications Dr Web found adware apps that are variations on existing families that initially surfaced on the Google Play Store in May 2022. When the applications are installed, they ask for permission to overlay windows over any app and can add themselves to the battery saver's exclusion list, allowing them to run in the background even after the victim shuts the app. Furthermore, they hide their app drawer icons or replace them with anything resembling a fundamental system component, such as "SIM Toolkit."

"This app "killed" my phone. It keep'd crashing , i couldn't even enter password to unlock phone and uninstall it. Eventually, I had to make a complete wipe out (factory reset), to regain phone. DO NOT , install this app !!!!," read a review of the app on the Google Play Store. 

Joker applications, which are infamous for incurring false payments on victims' mobile phones by subscribing them to premium services, are the second kind of harmful apps spotted on the Play Store. Two of the featured applications, 'Water Reminder' and 'Yoga - For Beginner to Advanced,' have 100,000 and 50,000 downloads, respectively, in the Play Store. Both deliver the claimed functionality, but they also execute malicious operations in the background, interacting with unseen or out-of-focus WebView objects and charging consumers. 

Finally, Dr. Web identifies two Facebook account stealers that are disseminated through picture editing applications and use cartoon effects on ordinary images. These applications are 'YouToon - AI Cartoon Effect' and 'Pista - Cartoon Photo Effect,' and they have been downloaded over 1.5 million times in the App Store. 

Android malware will always find a way into the Google Play Store, and apps can occasionally linger there for months, so users should not blindly trust any app or no apps. As a result, it is critical to read user reviews and ratings, visit the developer's website, read the privacy policy, and pay close attention to the permissions sought during installation. 
  • Photo Editor: Beauty Filter (gb.artfilter.tenvarnist)
  • Photo Editor: Retouch & Cutout (de.nineergysh.quickarttwo)
  • Photo Editor: Art Filters (gb.painnt.moonlightingnine)
  • Photo Editor - Design Maker (gb.twentynine.redaktoridea)
  • Photo Editor & Background Eraser (de.photoground.twentysixshot)
  • Photo & Exif Editor (de.xnano.photoexifeditornine)
  • Photo Editor - Filters Effects (de.hitopgop.sixtyeightgx)
  • Photo Filters & Effects (de.sixtyonecollice.cameraroll)
  • Photo Editor : Blur Image (de.instgang.fiftyggfife)
  • Photo Editor : Cut, Paste (de.fiftyninecamera.rollredactor)
  • Emoji Keyboard: Stickers & GIF (gb.crazykey.sevenboard)
  • Neon Theme Keyboard (com.neonthemekeyboard.app)
  • Neon Theme - Android Keyboard (com.androidneonkeyboard.app)
  • Cashe Cleaner (com.cachecleanereasytool.app)
  • Fancy Charging (com.fancyanimatedbattery.app)
  • FastCleaner: Cashe Cleaner (com.fastcleanercashecleaner.app)
  • Call Skins - Caller Themes (com.rockskinthemes.app)
  • Funny Caller (com.funnycallercustomtheme.app)
  • CallMe Phone Themes (com.callercallwallpaper.app)
  • InCall: Contact Background (com.mycallcustomcallscrean.app)
  • MyCall - Call Personalization (com.mycallcallpersonalization.app)
  • Caller Theme (com.caller.theme.slow)
  • Caller Theme (com.callertheme.firstref)
  • Funny Wallpapers - Live Screen (com.funnywallpapaerslive.app)
  • 4K Wallpapers Auto Changer (de.andromo.ssfiftylivesixcc)
  • NewScrean: 4D Wallpapers (com.newscrean4dwallpapers.app)
  • Stock Wallpapers & Backgrounds (de.stockeighty.onewallpapers)
  • Notes - reminders and lists (com.notesreminderslists.app)

Users get Directly Infected by AstraLocker 2.0 via Word Files

Threat researchers claim that the developers of a ransomware strain named AstraLocker just published its second major version and that its operators conduct quick attacks that throw its payload directly from email attachments. This method is particularly unique because all the intermediary stages that identify email attacks normally serve to elude detection and reduce the likelihood of triggering alarms on email security tools.

ReversingLabs, a firm that has been monitoring AstraLocker operations, claims that the attackers don't appear to be concerned with reconnaissance, the analysis of valuable files, or lateral network movement. It is carrying out a ransomware operation known as "smash and grab." 

The aim of smash and grab is to maximize profit as quickly as possible. Malware developers operate under the presumption that victims or security software will rapidly discover the malware, hence it is preferable to move right along to the finish line. 

Smash-and-grab strategy 

An OLE object with the ransomware payload is concealed in a Microsoft Word document that is the lure utilized by the developers of AstraLocker 2.0. WordDocumentDOC.exe is the filename of the embedded program. 

The user must select "Run" in the warning window that displays after opening the document in order to run the payload, thus decreasing the threat actors' chances of success. 

Researchers point out that this approach is less sophisticated than the recent Follina vulnerability which requires no user involvement or even the use of macros improperly which requires some user interaction. 
 
Encryption set up

Despite its haste to encrypt, AstraLocker still manages to do certain basic ransomware actions: It attempts to disable security software, disables any active programs that can obstruct encryption, and steers clear of virtual computers, which might suggest that it is being used by lab researchers.

The virus sets up the system for encryption using the Curve25519 method after executing an anti-analysis check to make sure it isn't executing in a virtual machine and that no debuggers are set in other ongoing processes. 

Killing applications that might compromise the encryption, erasing volume shadow copies that would facilitate victim restoration, and disabling a number of backup and antivirus services are all part of the preparation procedure. Instead of encrypting its contents, the Recycle Bin is simply emptied.

AstraLocker origins 

AstraLocker is based on Babuk's stolen source code, a dangerous but flawed ransomware strain that left the market in September 2021, according to ReversingLabs' code analysis. Furthermore, the Chaos ransomware's developers are connected to one of the Monero wallet addresses stated in the ransom text.

Supposedly, this isn't the work of a clever actor, but rather someone who is determined to launch as many devastating attacks as possible, based on the tactics that support the most recent campaign.

VirusTotal Reveals Claims of Critical Flaws in Google’s Antivirus Service

 

There have been questions raised regarding the credibility of research that claims to reveal a severe vulnerability in VirusTotal, a Google-owned antivirus comparison and threat intel service. 

VirusTotal (VT) is a service that enables security researchers, system administrators, and others to evaluate suspicious files, domains, IP addresses, and URLs using an aggregated service that includes close to 70 antivirus vendors and scan engines. The security community, including, but not limited to, the vendors who maintain the scanning engines used by VT, receives samples provided through the service automatically. 

 In a blog post published on Tuesday, Israel-based cybersecurity education platform provider Cysource claims researchers were able to “execute commands remotely within [the] VirusTotal platform and gain access to its various scans capabilities”. 

A doctored DJVU file with a malicious payload added to the file's metadata is used in the attack. To accomplish remote code execution (RCE) and a remote shell, this payload exploits the CVE-2021-22204 vulnerability in Exiftool, a metadata analysis tool.

In April 2021, Cysource researchers presented their findings to Google's VRP, which were addressed a month later. VirusTotal claims that instead of providing a way to weaponize VirusTotal, Cysource has only demonstrated a way to exploit an unpatched third-party antivirus toolset. 

Bernardo Quintero, VirusTotal's founder, stated the code executions are occurring on third-party scanning systems that take and analyse samples obtained from VT, rather than VirusTotal itself, in a response to the findings released as a thread on Twitter. 

 “None [of the] reported machine was from VT and the ‘researchers’ knew it,” Quintero added.

Google Authenticator Codes for Android is Targeted by Nefarious Escobar Banking Trojan

 


'Escobar' virus has resurfaced in the form of a novel threat, this time targeting Google Authenticator MFA codes. 

The spyware, which goes by the package name com.escobar.pablo is the latest Aberebot version which was discovered by researchers from Cyble, a security research firm, who combed through a cybercrime-related forum. Virtual view, phishing overlays, screen captures, text-message captures, and even multi-factor authentication capture are all included in the feature set. 

All of these characteristics are utilized in conjunction with a scheme to steal a user's financial data. This malware even tries to pass itself off as McAfee antivirus software, with the McAfee logo as its icon. It is not uncommon for malware to disguise itself as a security software; in fact, it was recently reported that the malware was installed straight inside of a completely functional 2-factor authentication app. 

The malicious author is leasing the beta version of the malware to a maximum of five customers for $3,000 per month, with threat actors getting three days to test the bot for free. After development, the threat actor intends to raise the malware's price to $5,000. 

Even if the overlay injections are curtailed in some way, the malware has various other capabilities to make it effective against any Android version. In the most recent version, the authors increased the number of aimed banks and financial organizations to 190 entities from 18 countries. 

The malware asks a total of 25 rights, 15 of which are employed nefariously. To name a few, accessibility, audio recording, read SMS, read/write storage, acquiring account lists, disabling keylock, making calls, and accessing precise device locations. Everything the virus captures, including SMS call records, key logs, notifications, and Google Authenticator codes, is sent to the C2 server. 

It is too soon to gauge the popularity of the new Escobar malware among cybercriminals, especially given its exorbitant price. Nonetheless, it has grown in strength to the point that it can now lure a wider audience. 

In general, avoiding the installation of APKs outside of Google Play, utilizing a mobile security application, and ensuring the Google Play Protect is enabled on your device will reduce, the chances of being infected with Android trojans.

Bridgestone USA Alleges to be Infiltrated by a LockBit Ransomware Cell

 

The LockBit ransomware gang claims to have infiltrated Bridgestone Americas' network and stolen data. It is an American subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, a Japanese tire, and automobile components manufacturer. It is a conglomerate of companies with more than 50 manufacturing locations and 55,000 people spread across America. If the corporation does not pay the ransom, Lock bit operators aim to reveal the private documents by March 15, 2022, 23:59. 

Bridgestone began an investigation into "a potential information security incident" on February 27, which was discovered in the morning hours of the same day. The incident remained unknown until recently when the LockBit ransomware gang claimed responsibility for the attack by adding Bridgestone Americas to its list of victims.

LockBit is one of the most active ransomware groups today, demanding significant sums of money in exchange for stolen data. According to a Kaspersky investigation, the ransomware gang utilizes LockBit, a self-spreading malware that uses tools like Windows Powershell and Server Message Block to proliferate throughout an enterprise. 

As per Dragos' study, the transportation and food and beverage industries were the second and third most targeted industries, respectively. LockBit is currently threatening Bridgestone with the release of their data.

The examination by the tire company indicated the attacker followed a "pattern of behavior" which is usual in ransomware assaults. Bridgestone went on to say the attacker had taken information from a small number of its systems and had threatened to make the stolen data public.

In a statement, the company said they are "committed to conducting a rapid and definitive inquiry to identify as swiftly as possible what precise data was obtained" from their environment. "The security of our teammates, customers, and partners' information is extremely important to Bridgestone."

Despite the fact that the LockBit ransomware gang has primarily targeted the industrial and manufacturing sectors, ransomware like the one utilized by the gang can still infect your PC.

To prevent ransomware criminals from getting into users' accounts, Kaspersky recommends using strong passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication. The antivirus firm also advised having system-wide backups in case data was lost due to malware infection. Additionally, keeping your system configurations up to date and following all security measures will help you avoid being a ransomware victim, saving you a lot of time and aggravation.

Microsoft Discreetly Upgrades Defender Antivirus to Patch a Major Flaw

 

Microsoft Defender, a protection software, has recently been updated to fix a severe security concern. The issue, which was traced back to 2014 and impacts Windows 10, lets users exclude some locations from antivirus scanning, in turn allowing malware to be installed. 

Due to a misconfigured registry key, this weakness, which has been present since 2014, allows users to access antivirus security safeguards. As a result, the key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Exclusions contains all spaces which aren't scanned by antivirus software. The issue is that the key is quite easy to obtain, as long as the 'Everyone' group has access to it. To change the contents of Windows, users are required to use a command prompt or a small click in the Settings menu. 

On Twitter, security researcher Antonio Cocomazzi says, Microsoft has patched the problem on Windows 10 20H2 PCs after deploying the February 2022 Patch Windows updates. Another researcher, Will Dormann of CERT/CC, validated this information, stating they acquired the privileges to change without installing any updates, implying the change might have been applied by both Windows updates and Microsoft Defender’s cybersecurity updates. 

After determining which directories were assigned to the antivirus block list, attackers might transmit and operate malware from a prohibited folder on an exploited Windows PC without danger of detection and neutralization. The permissions for Windows advanced security setups for Defender restrictions have been modified, with the 'Everyone' group deleted from the Register key's permission. 

  • The Exclusions Register key now has new permissions.
  • Access to Defender exclusions is now blocked.
  • Users with admin credentials are now required to access the database of exclusions through the command prompt or when creating exclusions using the Windows Security setup screen on Windows 10 systems in which this change has already been carried out. 
Microsoft is yet to comment on this problem, which was found as of late and has existed since the introduction of Windows 10. However, it is clear that Redmond's publisher has taken the appropriate steps. Furthermore, administrator rights are now required to view the list of locations blocked by the antivirus.

Endpoint Antivirus Detection Has Reached its Apex

 

Endpoint security is a term used to describe cybersecurity services provided to network endpoints, it included providing  Antivirus, email filtering, online filtering, and firewall services. Businesses rely on endpoint security to protect vital systems, intellectual property, customer details, employees, and visitors from ransomware, phishing, malware, and other threats. 

"While the total volume of cyberattacks decreased slightly, malware per device increased for the first period since the pandemic began," said Corey Nachreiner, CSO at WatchGuard. "Zero-day malware increased by only 3% to 67.2 percent in Q3 2021, and malware delivered via Transport Layer Security (TLS) increased from 31.6 percent to 47 percent." 

As consumers update to newer versions of Microsoft Windows and Office, cybercriminals are focused on fresh vulnerabilities — versions of Microsoft's widely used programs. CVE-2018-0802, which exploits a weakness in Microsoft Office's Equation Editor, cracked WatchGuard's top 10 entryway antivirus malware list in Q3, reaching number 6 after appearing on the widespread malware list.

In addition, two Windows software injectors (Win32/Heim.D and Win32/Heri) ranked first and sixth, on the most detected list. In Q3, the Americans were the focus of 64.5 percent of network attacks, compared to 15.5 percent for Europe and 15.5 percent for APAC (20 percent ). 

Following three-quarters of more than 20% increase, a reduction of 21% brought volumes back to Q1 levels. The top ten network attack signatures are responsible for the majority of attacks – The top 10 signatures were responsible for 81 percent of the 4,095,320 hits discovered by IPS in Q3. In fact, 'WEB Remote File Inclusion /etc/passwd' (1054837), which targets older, commonly used Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) web servers, was the only new signature in the top ten in Q3. One signature (1059160), a SQL injection, has remained at the top of the list since the second quarter of 2019. 

From application flaws to script-based living-off-the-land attacks, even those with modest skills may use scripting tools like PowerSploit and PowerWare, there were also 10% additional attack scripts than there were in all of 2020, a 666 percent raise over the previous year. 

In total, 5.6 million harmful domains were blocked in the third quarter, including many new malware domains attempting to install crypto mining software, key loggers, and wireless access trojans (RATs), as well as SharePoint sites harvesting Office365 login information. The number of blacklisted domains is down 23% from the past quarter, it is still several times greater than the level seen in Q4 2020.

Ransomware attacks reached 105 percent of 2020 output by the end of September, as expected after the previous quarter, and are on track to exceed 150 percent after the entire year of 2021 data is analyzed. 

According to WatchGuard's investigation, attackers operating with the REvil ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation exploited three zero-day vulnerabilities in Kaseya VSA Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) applications to deliver ransomware to more than 1,500 organizations and potentially millions of endpoints.

BotenaGo Botnet is Targeting Millions of Routers and IoT Devices

 

A new botnet malware called BotenaGo has been discovered in the wild. The malware has the capability to exploit millions of susceptible IoT (Internet of Things) products and routers.

Discovered by AT&T labs, BotenaGo is designed using the Go programming language, which has been gaining popularity of late. Threat actors are using it for making payloads that are harder to detect and reverse engineer. 

According to Bleeping Computer, BotenaGo is flagged by only six out of the 62 antivirus engines on VirusTotal, with some falsely identifying it as the Mirai botnet. 

The botnet incorporates 33 exploits for a variety of routers, modems, and NAS devices, with some notable examples given below: 

  • CVE-2015-2051, CVE-2020-9377, CVE-2016-11021: D-Link routers
  •  CVE-2016-1555, CVE-2017-6077, CVE-2016-6277, CVE-2017-6334: Netgear devices 
  • CVE-2019-19824: Realtek SDK based routers 
  • CVE-2017-18368, CVE-2020-9054: Zyxel routers and NAS devices 
  • CVE-2020-10987: Tenda products 
  • CVE-2014-2321: ZTE modems 
  • CVE-2020-8958: Guangzhou 1GE ONU 

“To deliver its exploit, the malware first queries the target with a simple “GET” request. It then searches the returned data from the “GET” request with each system signature that was mapped to attack functions,” reads the blog post published by AT&T. 

“The string “Server: Boa/0.93.15” is mapped to the function “main_infectFunctionGponFiber,” which attempts to exploit a vulnerable target, allowing the attacker to execute an OS command via a specific web request (CVE-2020-8958).” 

The new botnet targets millions of devices with functions that exploit the above flaws, for example querying Shodan for the string Boa, which is a discontinued open-source web server used in embedded applications, and one that still returns nearly two million internet-facing devices on Shodan. Once installed, the malware will listen on the ports 31412 and 19412, the latter is used to receive the victim IP. Once a connection with information to that port is received, the bot will exploit each vulnerability on that IP address to gain access. 

Furthermore, the security researchers didn't discover an active C2 communication between BotenaGo and an actor-controlled server, these are possible scenarios hypothesized by the experts: 

1. The malware is part of a multi-stage modular malware attack, and it's not the one responsible for handling communications. 

2. BotenaGo is a new tool used by Mirai operators on specific machines that are known to them, with the attacker(s) operating the infected end-point with targets. 

3. The malware is still under development and was released in the wild accidentally.

Mekotio Banking Trojan Resurfaces with Tweaked Code

 

On November 3, Check Point Research (CPR) released research on Mekotio, a modular banking Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that targets victims in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, and Peru, and it's now back with new techniques for evading detection. 

In October, 16 people were arrested across Spain in connection with Mekotio and the Grandoreiro Trojans. The individuals are suspected of sending hundreds of phishing emails to spread the Trojan, which was then used to steal banking and financial information. As per local media sources, 276,470 euros were stolen, but 3,500,000 euros worth of transfer attempts were made, which were luckily blocked. 

According to CPR researchers Arie Olshtein and Abedalla Hadra, the arrests simply delayed the transmission of the malware across Spain, and the malware is still spreading since the group probably partnered with other criminal organisations. Mekotio's developers, suspected of being based in Brazil, quickly rehashed their malware with new characteristics aimed to prevent detection after the arrests were revealed by the Spanish Civil Guard. 

The infection vector of Mekotio has remained the same, including phishing emails containing either links to or malicious code. The payload is contained in a ZIP archive attached. However, an examination of more than 100 recent attacks indicated the use of a simple obfuscation approach and a substitution cypher to avoid detection by antivirus software. 

In addition, the developers have included a redesigned batch file with numerous levels of obfuscation, a new PowerShell script that runs in memory to conduct malicious actions, and the use of Themida to safeguard the final Trojan payload — a legitimate application that prevents cracking or reverse engineering. 

Mekotio attempts to exfiltrate login credentials for banks and financial services once it has been installed on a vulnerable machine and will send them to a command-and-control (C2) server controlled by its operators. 

The researchers stated, "One of the characteristics of those bankers, such as Mekotio, is the modular attack which gives the attackers the ability to change only a small part of the whole in order to avoid detection. CPR sees a lot of old malicious code used for a long time, and yet the attacks manage to stay under the radar of AVs and EDR solutions by changing packers or obfuscation techniques such as a substitution cipher."

This New Phishing Attack Uses a Weaponized Excel File

 

A new phishing campaign is targeting financial sector employees by using links to download a ‘weaponized’ Excel document.

MirrorBlast, a phishing effort, was discovered in early September by security firm ET Labs. Morphisec, a fellow security firm, has now studied the malware and warns that the malicious Excel files might escape malware-detection systems due to "extremely lightweight" embedded macros, making it especially risky for businesses that rely on detection-based protection and sandboxing. 

Macros, or scripts for automating activities, have grown in popularity among cybercriminals. Despite the fact that macros are disabled by default in Excel, attackers employ social engineering to deceive potential victims into allowing macros. Despite appearing to be a simple approach, macros have been employed by state-sponsored hackers because they frequently work. 

Microsoft earlier this year extended its Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) for antivirus to combat the rise in macro malware and a recent phenomenon by attackers to utilise outdated Excel 4.0 XLM macros (rather than newer VBA macros) to circumvent anti-malware systems. 

As per Morphisec, the MirrorBlast attack chain is similar to tactics used by TA505, a well-established, financially focused Russia-based cybercriminal group. The group has been active since at least 2014 and is well-known for its usage of a wide range of tools. 

Morphisec researcher Arnold Osipov stated in a blog post, "TA505 is most known for frequently changing the malware they use as well as driving global trends in malware distribution." 

While the MirrorBlast attack begins with a document attached to an email, it afterwards uses a Google feed proxy URL with a SharePoint and OneDrive trap that masquerades as a file-sharing request. When the user clicks the URL, they are sent to a hacked SharePoint site or a bogus OneDrive site. Both versions will take to the malicious Excel document. 

The sample MirrorBlast email demonstrates how the attackers are capitalising on company-issued data on COVID-related modifications to working conditions. Morphisec points out that due to compatibility issues with ActiveX components, the macro code can only be run on a 32-bit version of Office. The macro itself runs a JavaScript script meant to avoid sandboxing by determining if the computer is in administrator mode. The msiexec.exe process is then launched, which downloads and instals an MSI package. 

Morphisec discovered two MIS installation versions that employed legal scripting tools named KiXtart and REBOL. The KiXtart script transmits information about the victim's workstation to the attacker's command and control server, including the domain, computer name, user name, and process list. It then answers with a number indicating whether the Rebol version should be used. Morphisec states that the Rebol script leads to a remote access tool called FlawedGrace, which the group has previously utilised. 

Osipov added, "TA505 is one of many financially motivated threat groups currently active in the marketplace. They are also one of the most creative, as they have a tendency to constantly shift the attacks they leverage to achieve their goals." 

New Malware Variant Employs Windows Subsystem for Linux for Attacks

 

Security experts have found a new malware variant that uses Windows Subsystem for Linux to infect systems covertly. The research highlights that malicious actors explore new attack tactics and focus on WSL to avoid being detected. 

Black Lotus Labs, the Lumen Technologies networking threat research organization, reported on Thursday 16th of September claimed that it has detected many malicious Python files in Debian Linux's binary ELF (Executable and Linkable) format. 

The initial samples were found at the beginning of May for the WSL environment and lasted until August 22 every 2 to 3 weeks. These function as WSL loaders and can be detected extremely poorly in public file scanning services. The next step is the injection of malWindows API calls into an ongoing process, a method that is neither new nor advanced. 

Of the few discovered instances, only one has been given a publicly routable IP address, indicating that attackers concerned are testing WSL for malware installation on Windows. The malevolent files mostly rely on Python 3 to perform their duties and are bundled with PyInstaller as ELF for Debian. 

“As the negligible detection rate on VirusTotal suggests, most endpoint agents designed for Windows systems don’t have signatures built to analyze ELF files, though they frequently detect non-WSL agents with similar functionality” Black Lotus Labs told. 

Just over a month ago, only one VirusTotal antivirus engine recognized a dangerous Linux file. Updating the scan for another sample demonstrated that the motors on the scanning service were not fully detected. 

One of the alternatives, written in Python 3 entirely, doesn't even use Windows APIs and is the first WSL loader effort. It is functional with both Windows and Linux with normal python libraries. 

In April 2016, Microsoft released the Windows Subsystem for Linux. When WSL was newly released from beta in September, investigators from Check Point revealed a catastrophe termed Bashware, where WSL could be misused to hide malicious code from security products. 

The scientists theorize that the code is still being created, even in the final level, depending on the incoherences detected in the analysis of multiple samples. The limited public IP exposure suggests activities in Ecuador and France at the end of June and the beginning of July, which are restricted to targets. 

Further, Black Lotus Labs recommends that everyone who has WSL enabled, make sure that logging is activated to detect these intrusions.

LockFile Ransomware Circumvents Protection Using Intermittent File Encryption

 

A new ransomware threat known as LockFile has been affecting organizations all around the world since July. It surfaced with its own set of tactics for getting beyond ransomware security by using a sophisticated approach known as "intermittent encryption." 

The operators of ransomware, called LockFile, have been found exploiting recently disclosed vulnerabilities like ProxyShell and PetitPotam to attack Windows servers and install file-encrypting malware that scrambles just every alternate 16 bytes of a file, allowing it to circumvent ransomware defenses. 

Mark Loman, Sophos director of engineering, said in a statement, "Partial encryption is generally used by ransomware operators to speed up the encryption process, and we've seen it implemented by BlackMatter, DarkSide, and LockBit 2.0 ransomware.” 

"What sets LockFile apart is that, unlike the others, it doesn't encrypt the first few blocks. Instead, LockFile encrypts every other 16 bytes of a document." 

"This means that a file such as a text document remains partially readable and looks statistically like the original. This trick can be successful against ransomware protection software that relies on inspecting content using statistical analysis to detect encryption," Loman added. 

Sophos' LockFile analysis is based on evidence published to VirusTotal on August 22, 2021. Once installed, the virus uses the Windows Management Interface (WMI) to terminate important services linked with virtualization software and databases before encrypting critical files and objects and displaying a ransomware message that looks similar to LockBit 2.0's. 

The ransom message further asks the victim to contact "contact@contipauper.com," which Sophos believes they are referencing a rival ransomware organization named Conti. 
 
Furthermore, after successfully encrypting all of the documents on the laptop, the ransomware erases itself from the system, indicating "there is no ransomware binary for incident responders or antivirus software to identify or clear up." 

Loman warned that the takeaway for defenders is that the cyberthreat landscape never sits still, and adversaries will rapidly grasp any chance or weapon available to conduct a successful attack. 

The disclosures come as the U.S FBI published a Flash report outlining the tactics of a new Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) group known as Hive, which consists of many actors who use multiple mechanisms to attack business networks, steal data, encrypt data on the networks, and attempt to collect a ransom in exchange for access to the decryption keys.

New AdLoad Malware Circumvents Apple’s XProtect to Infect macOS Devices

 

As part of multiple campaigns detected by cybersecurity firm SentinelOne, a new AdLoad malware strain is infecting Macs bypassing Apple's YARA signature-based XProtect built-in antivirus. 

AdLoad is a widespread trojan that has been aiming at the macOS platform since late 2017 and is used to distribute a variety of malicious payloads, including adware and Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). This malware can also harvest system information and send it to remote servers managed by its operators. 

According to SentinelOne threat researcher Phil Stokes, these large-scale and continuing attacks began in early November 2020, with a spike in activity commencing in July and early August. 

AdLoad will install a Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) web proxy after infecting a Mac to compromise search engine results and incorporate commercials into online sites for financial benefit. 

It will also acquire longevity on infected Macs by installing LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons, as well as user cronjobs that run every two and a half hours in some circumstances. 

According to SentinelLabs, “When the user logs in, the AdLoad persistence agent will execute a binary hidden in the same user’s ~/Library/Application Support/ folder. That binary follows another deterministic pattern, whereby the child folder in Application Support is prepended with a period and a random string of digits. Within that directory is another directory called /Services/, which in turn contains a minimal application bundle having the same name as the LaunchAgent label. That barebones bundle contains an executable with the same name but without the com. prefix.” 

During the period of this campaign, the researcher witnessed over 220 samples, 150 of which were unique and went unnoticed by Apple's built-in antivirus, despite the fact that XProtect presently comprises of dozen AdLoad signatures. 

Many of the SentinelOne-detected samples are also signed with legitimate Apple-issued Developer ID certificates, while others are attested to operate under default Gatekeeper settings. 

Further, Stokes added, "At the time of writing, XProtect was last updated around June 15th. None of the samples we found are known to XProtect since they do not match any of the scanner’s current set of Adload rules." 

"The fact that hundreds of unique samples of a well-known adware variant have been circulating for at least 10 months and yet remain undetected by Apple’s built-in malware scanner demonstrates the necessity of adding further endpoint security controls to Mac devices." 

To effectively comprehend the significance of this threat, Shlayer's case can be considered which is another common macOS malware strain capable of bypassing XProtect and infecting Macs with other malicious payloads. 

Shlayer recently exploited a macOS zero-day to bypass Apple's File Quarantine, Gatekeeper, and Notarization security checks and download second-stage malicious payloads on compromised Macs. 

Even though these malware strains are just delivering adware and bundleware as secondary payloads, for the time being, their developers can, however, switch to distributing more serious malware at any point. 

Apple’s head of software, under oath, while testifying in the Epic Games vs. Apple trial in May said, "Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable and that is much worse than iOS."

Kaspersky announced the creation of the new smartphones with protection from hackers

A smartphone with a secure Kaspersky will have minimal functionality, said the head of Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky. According to him, it will have its own basic applications and browser, but the smartphone has other tasks, it's security.

"There will be minimal functionality, but don't wait for beauty, both Android and iOS, this smartphone will perform other special tasks," said Mr. Kaspersky. "The device can call and send SMS, of course, there will be an office suite, its own browser with minimal functionality and a standard set of applications, such as an alarm clock, calculator, and so on,” added he.

So far, Kaspersky Lab does not plan to have an App store on its OS, but this is possible in the future. "Most likely, first we will make our own, and then we will be ready to attract other app stores," said Eugene Kaspersky.

At the same time, he said that smartphones on the Kaspersky operating system may appear next year. The company agreed with a Chinese smartphone manufacturer to install a new OS. 

He noted that the company does not plan to enter the platforms Google and Apple and try to replace them. "Our task is to create a secure phone that is almost impossible to hack, for processing secret and confidential information of both government officials and enterprises, and infrastructure management," said the head of Kaspersky Lab.

It’s interesting to note that Kaspersky Lab has been creating an operating system designed for maximum protection of equipment and operating on the principle of "everything is forbidden that is not allowed" for several years.

Miscreants Scamming Users into Buying Antivirus Software


Some independent security software affiliates are scamming people by sending emails with the false message that their antivirus is expiring and renew their license, whereby if the user does so, they can earn a commission. A software affiliate program is a marketing technique in which the affiliate recommends the software to customers or visitors and earns a commission on each purchase. Now, these programs have strict rules and guidelines to protect their software and customers from false advertising and being tricked into buying.


BleepingComputer discovered this scam last week when two of their seniors reported it. The mails tell the users that their Norton and McAfee antivirus software is expiring, the very day and to renew their license. The scam starts with emails containing a subject similar to "WARNING: Anti-Virus Can Expire " Sun, 26 Apr 2020", which includes a link stating, "Your Protection Can Expire TODAY!", writes BleepingComputer in their blog. If the link in the mail is clicked, it takes the user DigitalRiver affiliate network, and after dropping a tracking cookie, redirects the user to the purchase page of Norton or McAfee antivirus. If it goes smoothly and the user purchased the software, the affiliate party would get a $10 commission or 20% of the total sale. For this particular scam, they earned around $10 per transaction.

How to protect yourself from these scams 

Most antivirus usually notifies their customers of the expiry date via a notification from the software. If that's the case, you can rest assure that it is legitimate and go ahead with the renewal. But unfortunately, some companies email their users to remind the customer about the expiring article. A simple way to check their authenticity is to look for the name of your antivirus.

Since these rogue fake mails are sent in bulk they probably don't know which software you're using. The next step is to open your antivirus software and check when the software is expiring. Even if it is expiring, it's better to renew it from their website then to rely on these links from the mail.

Avast Antivirus Harvested Users' Data and Sold it Google, Microsoft, IBM and Others



Avast, a popular maker of free anti-virus software being employed by almost 435 million mobiles, Windows and Mac harvested its users' sensitive data via browser plugins and sold it to third parties such as Microsoft, Google, Pepsi, IBM, Home Depot, and many others, according to the findings of an investigation jointly carried out by PCMag and Motherboard.

As per the sources, the investigation basically relied on leaked data; documents used to further the investigation belonged to Jumpshot which is a subsidiary of Avast. The data was extracted by the Avast anti-virus software itself and then repackaged by Jumpshot into various products which were sold to big companies as the report specified, "Potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Sephora, Home Depot, Conde Nast, Intuit, and many others."

"The sale of this data is both highly sensitive and is, in many cases, supposed to remain confidential between the company selling the data and the clients purchasing it," other company documents found.

Allegedly, Avast has been keeping a track of personal details such as exact time and date when a user starts surfing a website, the digital content being viewed by him and his browsing and search history. As per the findings, the information sold by Jumpshot includes Google Maps searches, Google search engine searches, YouTube videos viewed by users, activity that took place on companies' LinkedIn handles and porn websites visited by people. The data contained no traces of personal information of people like their names or email addresses, however, the investigators at Vice pointed out how the access to such precise browsing data can potentially lead back to the identification of the user anyway.

When the investigation reports were made public, Jumpshot stopped receiving any browsing-related data harvested by extensions as Avast terminated the operations, however, currently, the popular anti-virus maker is being investigated for collecting user data asides from browser plug-ins.

While Google denied commenting on the matter, IBM told Vice that they have no record of dealing with Avast's subsidiary, Jumpshot. Meanwhile, Microsoft made it clear that at present they are not having any relationship with Jumpshot.

Russian hackers claim to have breached 3 US antivirus makers

A group of elite Russian hackers claims to have infiltrated their networks and stolen the source code for their software.

Researchers with Advanced Intelligence (AdvIntel) have been tracking the activity of the group on underground forums for some time. The hackers, who operate under the handle Fxmsp, have an established reputation for infiltrating well-protected networks. Their targets typically include highly-sensitive corporate and government information.

Two months ago AdvIntel saw Fxmsp reappear on hacking forums after a half-year hiatus. It's probably no coincidence that the group reported that its campaign against security software firms had kicked off six months earlier.

Fxmsp laid low until it had achieved its goal. When its stealth operation concluded, the hackers allegedly made off with more than 30 terabytes of data from their latest victims. They posted screenshots showing folders, files, and source code.

The asking price for this trove of data: a cool $300,000. They also claimed to still have access to the networks and would throw that in at no extra charge to the lucky buyer.

If what they're offering is the real deal, then this is pretty much a worst-case scenario for the three firms that were compromised. Access to the source code allows hackers the opportunity to locate showstopping vulnerabilities and exploit them, rendering the software useless... or worse. They could even turn what was once legitimate protection from malware into an incredibly effective spying tool.

Most of the Antivirus Android Apps Ineffective and Unreliable



In a report published by AV-Comparatives, an Austrian antivirus testing company, it has been found out that the majority of anti-malware and antivirus applications for Android are untrustworthy and ineffective.

While surveying 250 antivirus applications for Android, the company discovered that only 80 of them detected more than 30% of the 2,000 harmful apps they were tested with. Moreover, a lof of them showed considerably high false alarm rates.

The detailed version of the report showcased that the officials at AV-Comparatives selected 138 companies which are providing anti-malware applications on Google Play. The list included some of the most well-known names like Google Play Protect, Falcon Security Lab, McAfee, Avast, AVG, Symantec, BitDefender, VSAR, DU Master, ESET and various others.

ZDNet noted that the security researchers at AV-Comparatives resorted to manual testing of all the 250 apps chosen for the study instead of employing an emulator. The process of downloading and installing these infectious apps on an Android device was repeated 2,000 times which assisted the researchers in concluding the end result i.e., the majority of those applications are not reliable and effective to detect malware or virus.

However, the study conducted by AV-Comparatives also highlighted that some of the offered antivirus applications can potentially block malicious apps.

As some of the vendors did not bother to add their own package names into the white list, the associated antivirus apps detected themselves as infectious. Meanwhile, some of the antivirus applications were found with wildcards in order to allow packages starting with an extension like "com.adobe" which can easily be exploited by the hackers to breach security.

On a safer side, Google guards by its Play Protect which provides security from viruses on Android by default. Despite that, some users opt for anti-malware apps from third-party app stores or other unknown sources which affect safety on their devices.

The presence of malicious apps on Google Play was also noticed in the past and with the aforementioned study, Android is becoming an unsafe mobile platform.



Beware of fake versions of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0 claiming to be free


It is always suggested not to download cracked versions of software, if you are really concerned about your Desktop security.  But, Downloading a cracked version of Antivirus or from unknown sources is height of stupidity.

MalwareBytes recently released new version 2.0 of the MalwareBytes Anti-Malware(MBAM). Cyber criminals have now started to trick users into installing the fake versions of this security application.

Researchers at Malwarebytes have come across a number of websites offering free version their software, but are actually potentially unwanted programs.

These bogus applications are capable of making itself run every time, whenever the system is restarted.  They are also capable of accessing your browser cookies, list of restricted sites and browser history.

These apps also blocks users from accessing certain websites by adding them to Internet Explorer's restricted zone, which includes wikia, gamespot, Runescape online.

The security firm also have spotted premium version of MBAM with key generators on torrent websites.  But, in this particular case, users are asked to fill survey in order to download the app.  Filling these kind of surveys will help the cybercriminals to earn money.